The Illinois Valley is the ideal site for new businesses and the relocation or expansion of existing operations. Well-planned industrial parks offer fully developed sites away from residential areas and near interstate highway connections. Large parcels of industrially zoned land, are available along I-39, 1-80, and connecting highways. River sites are available as well.
Important to industrial enterprises seeking relocation or expansion is the fact that large areas of LaSalle, Peru, Oglesby, and Utica are part of the Illinois Valley Enterprise Zone. Portions of Spring Valley, Granville, Hennepin, and Princeton are included in the Bureau Putnam Enterprise Zone. These zones offer a host of financial incentives, including extensive property tax abatement, state income tax credit for qualified job creations, and sales tax and investment tax deductions. Funds for training for qualified workers are available from the job Training Partnership Act/Private Industry Council and the Illinois Valley Community College (FVCC) offers training structured to meet the needs of area industry.
The Illinois Valley is home to divisions of several Fortune 500 companies and nearly 65 industries large and small. The Hobbs Division of Stewart Warner Corporation manufactures auto and tractor lamps assemblies and halogen tractor headlamps. Maze Nails, a division of W.H. Maze founded in 1848, produces specialty nails and exports to the world. Open Court General Books, now Carus Publishing Co. publish several children's magazines. Other leaders in their fields are American Nickeloid, Sauer Sundstrand, Lone Star and Illinois Cement Companies, Huntsman Chemical Corp., LTV Steel, ESK, and Badge-A-Minit, Ltd., the world's largest manufacturer of button making equipment.
In recent years, three Japanese firms (Unytite, Inc., Eakas Corporation and Univance)and one Swedish company (Nobel Biocare Mfg.,Inc.) have located in the Illinois Valley.
Among the Valley's newest firms are MetoKote Corporate and Donlar Corporation, producer of Inc., a steel product manufacturer and fabricator, and Donlar Corporation, producer of biodegradable fertilizer. Boise Cascade has opened a large call center to service its customers. Supervalu is locating a large Midwest Distribution Center and J.C. Whitney, an auto parts firm, is located in a newly constructed distribution and call center.
Goods produced in the Illinois Valley range from electronics to eyeglass and optical products, molasses, automotive products, business forms, children's monthly publications, cement, hot and cold roll steel, cookies, hydrostatic transmissions, polystyrene, corrugated boxes, and much more.
The Illinois Valley's financial institutions are prepared to lend strong support to local and new businesses. Through cooperative working agreements, many banks provide area firms with larger capital needs.
Illinois Valley industries are good neighbors with a positive effect on the community and provide a diversity of employment opportunity.
With energy resources readily available, utility companies supply industrial requirements for gas and electricity with ease and low costs. The river and deep wells, including artesian, are plentiful sources of water. Industry and home owners benefit from full city services.
A close relationship exists amongst business, industry, and Illinois Valley communities. Labor and management cooperate to reach important community goals. Together, they played an instrumental role in obtaining funds for the completion Of 1-39, the North-South interstate, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge, the Illinois Valley Regional Airport, construction of the LaSalle Veterans Care Facility, and other major facilities.
Agriculture and agribusiness have a significant role in the economic activities of the Illinois Valley. The Valley's more than 3,700 farms produce 120 million bushels of corn, 25 million bushels of soybeans, 61,000 head of cattle, and 200,000 hogs annually. Hybrid seed corn, mushrooms, fresh eggs, and milk are also produced and processed in the Illinois Valley. The total value of agricultural production is over $480 million. Several large grain terminals maintain elevators and ship thousands of tons of grain by barge to many parts of the country and the world.
The Illinois Valley has a total work force of more than 85,000 skilled and semiskilled workers living in the Quad-County area of LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam, and Marshall counties. The work force is noted for being skilled and extremely industrious. Many workers are direct descendants of the hard-working tradesmen, farmers, and artisans who were responsible for the early development of the area.
The Illinois Valley has a history of stable labor-management relations, long lengths of employment, and low tardiness and absenteeism. Labor and management have benefited from responsive educational systems that assure opportunities to learn the new skills required by today's business and industry, including but not limited to CAD/CAM, robotics, metallurgy, micro processor controls, and data processing.
The numerous firms of the Illinois Valley draw their employment from among workers who are well-educated and highly skilled and motivated by a heritage of hard work.